Manchester wiredrawers’ strike, 1934

This photo dates from 1934, during the nine-month strike by 650 workers at the firm of Richard Johnson & Nephew Ltd, Wiredrawers, of Forge Lane, Bradford, Manchester. Strike leaders Alf Bywater and Bill Dunn are shown addressing the workers. The cause of the strike was the introduction of a system designed to maximise productivity: the Bedaux System. This represented a method of time and motion … Continue reading Manchester wiredrawers’ strike, 1934

Conscientous objectors: A Gaol Bird’s Lay

This is a pamphlet from the Peace Collection held at the Working Class Movement Library in Salford. From August 1914 until January 1916, the British government relied on volunteers to produce an army to fight on the Western Front and other areas of the war. Towards the end of 1915, a reduction in the numbers volunteering and the sheer scale of casualties meant that conscription … Continue reading Conscientous objectors: A Gaol Bird’s Lay

Dan Horne (Northumbria) on the British Left’s response to fascism at home and in Europe

My dissertation examines the way in which the British Left contributed to the anti-fascist cause in 1930s Europe. I will observe how the British Left reacted to the rise of fascism within Germany, Austria and Italy, whilst also exploring their reaction towards Oswald Mosley and the BUF at home. This dissertation will attempt to draw attention to how key campaigners sought to gain wider support … Continue reading Dan Horne (Northumbria) on the British Left’s response to fascism at home and in Europe

Kerrie McGiveron (Liverpool) on Big Flame, women and the Tower Hill Base Group

With generous financial backing from SSLH, in the summer of 2017 I was able to travel to various sites to undertake research for my MA dissertation entitled ‘Notes on a Community Struggle:’ Big Flame, Women, and The Kirkby Resistance. Big Flame were a radical New Left organisation, whose unique commitment to both socialism and feminism renders them vital to the narrative of 1970s activism in … Continue reading Kerrie McGiveron (Liverpool) on Big Flame, women and the Tower Hill Base Group

David Strittmatter (Buffalo) on the erasure of St Peter’s Field as a site of commemoration

The great E.P. Thompson wrote in his magisterial The Making of the English Working Class that ‘1819 was a rehearsal for 1832’. Thompson drew a direct line from the Peterloo Massacre to the Great Reform Act. Indeed, the crowd of 60,000 that gathered in an open space near St. Peter’s Church in central Manchester on August 16, 1819, came to hear reform-minded speakers. Famously, the … Continue reading David Strittmatter (Buffalo) on the erasure of St Peter’s Field as a site of commemoration

Maxine Peake and the SSLH support the WCML

The Society has issued a a letter in support of the Working Class Movement Library in Salford after recent accusations made in an election pamphlet by Robin Garrido. Garrido, a councillor and leader of Salford Conservative party, claims that the WCML “is not a proper accessible library, you need to make an appointment to visit. Also you can’t borrow books like you can at an ordinary library.” … Continue reading Maxine Peake and the SSLH support the WCML